Back when we first decided we really wanted to move to Logan, I think some part of me sort of thought some fairy dust would twinkle down on the land and poof--there we would be! All settled in our new spot!
It turns out, surprise surprise, that it was not going to occur with a sprinkling of fairy dust and a snap of fingers.
There have been so many unforeseen requirements and obstacles in this process of trying to get the Pea Viner land build-ready that when I try to lay them out clearly to those who ask, they jumble together in my head until I hardly know what on earth I am talking about. I start hearing myself say foreign words like: "storm water runoff", "land disturbance", "water rights", "road shoulder", etc; and the more I try to explain, the more I begin to feel like I am speaking rocket science--without ever having learned it myself. (You know the old saying: "this isn't rocket science". Well, I think building on Cache county land might actually be rocket science.)
Even so, enough has been accomplished, that Mike and are getting to the point in this "move to the farm" business where, if it is really ever going to be, we need to start making some pretty big decisions about when to sell (and what to sell), how to fund things and the best way to do it, and where to go in the time between selling and completing the checklist of demands before beginning to build. There are various options, all of them a little overwhelming, and each with their own set of risks, sacrifices and stresses; and each with the potential to impact our ten children in a host of varied ways.
I recently attended a presentation on the Salt Lake City temple renovation given by the project manager himself. (The whole business was pretty fascinating: the jack and bore method [where men are literally digging by shovel to get these giant pipes under the temple], the 5,670 stones that have had to be removed, repaired, catalogued and put back, the extreme measures that must be taken to support every part of the temple while they work on any other part, and, of course, the 98 base isolaters that the temple will eventually rest on that can move five horizontal feet in any direction. [Look up some videos of the SLC temple renovation if you want to find yourself awed and intrigued by construction ingenuity. There were so many things that hadn't even occurred to me would need to be considered! Nothing was simple! Like, for example, the fact that one can't simply dig down around the temple lower than the initial foundation. With all that supportive earth removed, the 187 million pound temple would crash down and squeeze out the square of earth remaining underneath.])
At one point he shared a list of all the things that have extended the original four-year renovation plan. Covid of course, (along with an earthquake), but also things with the foundation that were discovered to be in a different situation than the information they had (uncovering and understanding various obstacles those pioneers encountered in trying to build this magnificent, sacred building without the means we have at our disposal), and new direction from the first presidency to preserve things they hadn't originally planned to preserve, add rooms they had not originally planned to add (for example there will be two baptistries in the Salt Lake temple), etc.
He showed us some of the pictures that were shown to the first presidency and apostles at one meeting and said how one of them jokingly commented something like, "If we'd fully understood this, we may never have approved it!"
I chuckled at that relatable little comment. In my own little way I've experienced it not just in this move, but in nearly every aspect of mortality! "If I'd had any idea what this would actually entail, I might never have dared agree to any of it!"
On the other hand, there is also the truth expressed so well by Ammon after their 14-year mission to the Lamanites where many times their "hearts were depressed" and they were "about to turn back":
At the end of it all, Ammon looks back through the challenges, heartache and misery and exclaims, "How great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started ... that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? ... Blessed be the name of God; let us sing to his praise. ... My heart is brim with joy."
That's the more sure truth I know. Even with all the things that feel a thousand times messier and more difficult than we expected (anyone ever decided to be a parent for example?) and even when mortal parts of me want to "turn back" and complain, "This was not what I signed up for!", I still do know that, in truth, I can't possibly imagine all the blessings and growth and gains that are coming from all of it. And I’ve already experienced much of the awe and wonder over my own lengthy list of blessings I never might have guessed were coming as I embarked on paths of my own.
Thinking of the temple renovations and all of these tied thoughts reminds me a little of that C.S. Lewis quote--what is it? Something about assuming Christ is coming in to do a little gentle remodeling, and then feeling rather shocked when suddenly walls are being knocked down and stairways pulled out, but eventually realizing its because he isn't making you into a simple cottage, rather a castle.
And also the lines from "Come, Come, Ye Saints" that came to me on a night of great anxiety when I was expecting my ninth (and would have three children under age three--along with the six others):
"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?"
It's not that He wouldn't like to give them to us of course--all the great rewards. It's that we simply cannot receive all the blessings, and connectings, and becoming, and gains, and marvelous new understandings and perspectives without the journey. And I'm grateful to be on it!
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.